10th ‘Clap for Carers’ should be its last, says organiser behind event

Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street in London. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Down

Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street in London. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

The woman behind the 'clap for carers' scheme has said she will no longer take part - saying this week's event should be the last.

Millions of people across the UK have lined their thresholds, gathered - while socially distancing - on pavements, and stood in their gardens at 8pm every Thursday to demonstrate their support for care staff and frontline workers.

But the ritual has been criticised by some for becoming 'politicised', while others, including NHS staff, have said some people who take part in the clap then wilfully ignore the plea to stay at home and avoid gatherings in an effort to ease the strain on the healthcare system.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick was filmed leading dozens of officers in the weekly applause for key workers on a crowded Westminster Bridge.

Annemarie Plas, 36, last week said she has no problem with people continuing to gather at 8pm each week to clap, but said she will not be among those taking part in future.

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She told the PA news agency: 'To have the most impact I think it is good to stop it at its peak.

'Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised.

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'I think the narrative is starting to change and I don't want the clap to be negative.'

Ms Plas, from Streatham in south London, told ITV's Good Morning Britain she will clap this week, and will return outside at the same time next week to 'check in' with her community, without applauding.

She said: 'For everybody who wants to continue I think they should, but for me I think it's good to see how we can see that positivity delivered to the next level, which can be an annual moment and also to embrace the community still at 8pm.

'For me, next Thursday I will go out to see who is out there and check in with my community - we are still in this crisis, but I think there are other initiatives we can support which show our gratitude.'

NHS doctor Meenal Viz said on Twitter: 'As a doctor, I've appreciated your support during #ClapForCarers.

'But instead of clapping tonight at 8pm, I'll observe silence in remembrance of my 237 colleagues who have died during the pandemic.'

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